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TAMPA, Fla. – A Southwest flight made an emergency landing in Florida on Wednesday after encountering severe turbulence over the Gulf of Mexico, causing injuries to two people onboard.

Southwest Airlines told FOX Weather in a statement that Flight 4273 was diverted to Tampa International on Wednesday morning because of turbulence. According to Southwest, two people were injured and required medical treatment after landing.


According to data from, the flight departed New Orleans, Louisiana, at 6:44 a.m. and was traveling to Orlando International Airport. The flight landed at Tampa International at 8:56 a.m. 

“The Captain declared an emergency, a requirement to deviate from a filed flight plan, and also requested that paramedics be available when the aircraft arrived to assess any potential injury,” Southwest said in the statement. “Two people were transported to a Tampa Bay area medical facility.”

Radar showed intense storms over the Gulf of Mexico about halfway through the flight from New Orleans. Florida and much of the East Coast have been experiencing thunderstorms and severe weather throughout Wednesday as a cold front moves east.

FOX 8 New Orleans reported a passenger and a flight attendant were the people who were injured.

Turbulence is a sudden shift in airflow. Those irregular motions in the atmosphere create air currents that can jostle passengers on an airplane. They can even be severe enough to throw an airplane out of control.

Southwest said customers arrived in Orlando four-and-a-half hours behind schedule.

“With our apologies for their delayed journey, there is no priority higher than the safest operation of every flight,” the airline said.

Once the aircraft was on the ground, it was looked over by mechanics, according to Southwest.

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